These passages were compiled by our brother, Alan E. Kurschner, Ph.D., Eschatos Ministries. I have the pleasure and liberty to comment on them briefly.
In passage #2, we looked at the biblical motif of persecution/tribulation-retribution/retaliation/relief which is a vindication of God’s justice. In passage #3, we shall look at the inseparability of the Rapture from the Second Coming Of Christ. The Rapture is part of a whole series of events referred to as the Second Coming Of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2–3
“Concerning the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him. . . . to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here (let no one deceive you in any way). For that day will not arrive until first [proton] the apostasy comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” (see also John 7:51, Mark 3:27!)
The KJV reads:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”(2 Thess.2:1-3).
Here our brother Apostle Paul linked the gathering together of the saints unto Him[Christ(Rapture)] with His Coming. We have examined the Greek word parousia rendered coming in both the NET and the KJV. It is not a singular event but a series of events linked together like His First advent which consisted of the annunciation, birth, presentation in the Temple, baptism, 3-year ministry, His passion and agony in the garden, arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. His [second] coming(parousia) begins with His appearance in the heavens. The appearance of His coming in the heavens is referred to as the Shekhinah. This is His visible presence in the sky. It will itself be preceded by the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars(Matt.24:30), which in turn is preceded by the Great Tribulation, the martyrdom of the saints during the fourth and fifth seals(Matt.24:29; Rev.6:7-11). It will be so glorious that it will dispel the darkness and cold precipitated by the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal(Rev.6:12-14). The surviving remnants of the saints must be evacuated from the Earth to keep them away from His wrath. He is coming to punish the unrighteous wicked for their evils. His saints are not appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus the Christ(1 Thess.1:10, 5:9).
The Thessalonians were upset by the erroneous teaching that the resurrection(Rapture) is past and that the suffering they were experiencing at that time was due to the wrath of God in the day of the Lord. Apostle Paul wrote this second letter to correct that wrong notion. The Lord will come(appear in the heaven), and then we shall be gathered to meet Him in the sky. But that day will not come except two very notable events occur. These two events are not the only events that will precede the Coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto Him, but are very epochal. The first(proton) will be apostasy(Greek:apostasia) and the unveiling of the lawless one. Apostle Paul was reasoning from effect to cause. The apostasy, rebellion or falling away from or total abandonment of the Faith by some believers will be preceded by unveiling of the man of lawlessness, the antiChrist. Without the revelation of the man of sin, there can be no apostasy. The apostasy is precipitated by the revelation of the man of lawlessness. We know from Dan.9:27 that the revelation of the man of lawlessness occurs precisely the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel. The unveiling of the man of lawlessness leads to persecution by the antiChrist and his acolytes during the Great Tribulation which in turn leads to the abandonment of the Faith by some believers due to severe suffering. So, the Thessalonians were not yet in the Day of the Lord. The Man Of Sin has not been revealed, the Great Tribulation has not yet occurred. Therefore, Christ could not have come the second time and the saints could not have been gathered unto Him. In other words the Rapture which occurs at beginning of the parousia has not yet taken place.
Have you met some overzealous believers who are quick to tell you they are not waiting for the antiChrist but for the Lord Jesus. Wonderful! But they have forgotten that to meet Jesus alive, we must pass the testing by the antiChrist. It will be only when we have met the lawless one and held steadfast to our Faith in Him that we will be confident and not shrink from before Him at His Coming(1 Jon.2:28).